UNITED STATES engineering group Jacobs said this week that it plans to merge its Reading based infrastructure division with Glasgow based Babtie.
The merged operation will trade as Jacobs Babtie and will incorporate the former Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners business bought by Jacobs in 2001 (NCE 22 February 2001).
The merger follows the completion last week of Jacobs' takeover of Babtie.
Jacobs Babtie's headquarters will be in Glasgow rather than Gibb's traditional base in Reading, although only senior managers will switch to Scotland.
Babtie chief executive Bill Mitchell said the Babtie board had agreed to the takeover because it fitted with the firm's plans to double turnover over the next five years.
'It was always on our minds that one way of doing this was as part of a larger organisation, ' Mitchell said.
Last year Babtie increased operating profits by 23% from £9.2M while turnover increased to £180M. Jacobs made profits of $128M (£71M) on turnover of $4.6bn (£2.5bn).
Mitchell said he would stay in charge of the UK operation, becoming a Jacobs vice president.
Babtie started talking to Jacobs about the takeover after the two companies had worked together in the nuclear sector.
'Our core values are the same and we are committed to growth of the same order, ' he said.
Jacobs has 2,000 staff in the UK with 800 in Jacobs Infrastructure. The rest are in Jacobs Engineering, the US company's process engineering division.
Jacobs executive vice president of finance and administration, John Prosser, said the deal would increase Jacobs' UK and European Union transportation market as well as enabling it to boost its presence in Asia and the Pacific Rim.
'Babtie is very strong in highways and bridges and a growing strength in rail, even though we have a presence in rail, ' he said.